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Tally Marks and Frequency Distribution

Tally Marks: How would you like your room? Messy or everything cleaned and properly placed? Cleaned, Right? The same is with numbers. Suppose you want to note down the favourite flavours of all your classmates. It is possible that two or more of your friends like the same flavour. How can you make this messy collection into an organized one? Just as you organise your wardrobe!

Think of these flavours of ice-creams as your clothes – shirts, trousers, t-shirts, jeans etc. You keep one type of clothes together and the other in another section. In the same way, you can organize your work. This organization in a particular section is the basis of tally marks and frequency distribution. Let’s get familiar with tally marks and frequency distribution.

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Tally Marks and Frequency Distribution

As the name suggests tally marks shows the number of times an object or data is repeating. The organisation of this data in a tabular form is the frequency distribution table.  We have used the term ‘data’. What is data? Let us know some of the commonly used terms.

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  • Data: Data is a collection of numbers. They are gathered and organised to give some information. Data put in their original form as they are collected are raw data.
  • Observation: Each of the value in the raw data is an observation.

Types of Data

Data are collected on the basis of requirement or the needed information. Data are mainly of two types – primary and secondary data.

  • Primary Data: The data collected directly from the source is primary data. Suppose when you need to collect data for the favourite game of your classmates. You ask them directly. This is the primary data.
  • Secondary Data: The collection of data indirectly or from some external source is the secondary data. These sources can be newspapers, magazines, television, internet etc. Suppose if you have to collect the data on the number of branches of your favourite restaurant in different cities. You may collect the data from newspapers or the internet. Such data is the secondary data.

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Tally Marks

Organization of the Data

Now that you have your data, what can be done with them? These data are raw data. We have to organise it in some meaningful way to take out the information. Consider the example of a collection of data of your favourite sport. From this raw data, you can count the number of the people who like a particular sport.

Tally Marks

Tally marks are the representation of the data in the form of vertical lines. We put one vertical line (|) for each of the four counts. A diagonal line (\) is put for the fifth count. These marks are tally marks.

  • Tally marks for Number 4 is  ||||
  • Number 5 is represented as   Frequency Distribution
  • The representation of 6 as Frequency Distribution and so on.

Frequency Distribution

The representation of the various observations and tally marks in a form of table is the frequency distribution. The frequency is the number of the times an observation occurs. It is the number of repetitions. Consider in a class of 30 students, 5 like badminton. 10 students like cricket, 3 like tennis, 4 like football, 7 like volleyball and 1 likes hockey.

Representation of this data:


This table is the frequency distribution table or the frequency table. Each item of this table, badminton, cricket etc. is an observation. The number of the students is the frequency.

Solved Example for You

Question 1: For the given table, fill the blanks.

Frequency Tally Marks
9 __
 __ |||
7 __
 __ ||||
16 __
 __ |
 __ |||
5  __
 __ ||
11 __

Answer : The complete table is

Frequency Distribution

Question 2: Below is the marks of 35 students in English test (out of 10). Arrange these marks in tabular form using tally marks. 5, 8, 7, 6, 10, 8, 2, 4, 6, 3, 7, 5, 8, 5, 1, 7, 4, 6, 3, 5, 2, 8, 4, 2, 6, 4, 2, 8, 9, 5, 4, 7, 5, 5, 8.

  1. How many students scored more than 7 marks?
  2. What is the mark scored by the maximum students? What is the number of the students?
  3. How many students scored less than and equal to 5?

Answer : The frequency table is


  1. The number of students with more than 7 marks = 6 + 1 + 1 = 8.
  2. The maximum students scored 5 marks. The number of students is 7.
  3. The number of students with less than and equal to 5 marks = 19.

Question 3: How do tally marks look like?

Answer: The tally marks are simple straight lines. These are useful for keeping track of something. Just like the scores of different players in a sport or results from some survey or research. The use of the tally marks is an easy and great way to present the information.

Question 4: What is the tally chart and tally marks when it comes to statistics?

Answer: A tally chart is said to be a simple method used for the collection of data with the tally marks. The tally marks are basically the frequencies, occurrences, or the sum numbers we measure for a particular category in a set of data.

Question 5: Why are the tally marks essential?

Answer: The tally marks are important as we mainly use them to keep the record of a running or continuous count. These marks are so useful for recording and maintaining the scores in a game or a sport.

Question 6: What is the tally frequency table?

Answer: A tally frequency table is generally known as a tally chart. It is a method of collecting the data with the tally marks.

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